When you don’t have a belt or a strap to hang your swords off of, you make do the best that you can.
Yagyu Jubei is, of course, from the anime and manga property Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls. Despite finishing up its broadcast run way back in December 2010, its popularity endures amongst figure companies, with makers as obscure as Penguin Parade and U-Art paying tribute to her and her castmates. This figure, however, is from Alter, the best maker in the business and a very enthusiastic supporter of the franchise.
Unlike Orchid Seed, Yamato, and Griffin, Alter historically hasn’t made many recolored versions of their figures. However, that seems to be changing as of late, at least as far as their swimsuiit figures are concerned; they’ll be offering a limited edition version of their Selvaria figure at this year’s Mega Hobby Expo and of course, there’s this figure, which follows the original version released last year which put her in an orange swimsuit.
Like all of Alter’s figures of the Samurai Girls characters, this version of Jubei is sculpted in 1/8 scale and stands about 19 centimeters tall. She comes with no accessories or castoff options; there’s no need to fiddle with her weapons, she’s ready for display right after sticking her to her base.
Alter’s Samurai Girls figures are known for their visual complexity and at first, it seems like a lot of that intricacy should be lost here, given that Jubei’s outfit is quite abbreviated compared to what she normally wears. However, even though she’s showing a lot of skin, the figure still features a number of distinctive aspects, mostly due to her weapons. She’s holding two swords of traditional samurai style, one larger and the other smaller, though in keeping with the stylized motifs of the Samurai Girls series, both swords are rather oversized. Both swords are also very nicely sculpted and painted, with a lacquer-like finish on the scabbards and painted metallic accents on the handles and hilts.
Of course, perhaps the most visually interesting aspect of the figure isn’t just her swords but also the way that she’s holding them. The sexual innuendo of her pose is unmistakable; she’s doing the paizuri thing with her katana, treating the viewer to a good look at her cleavage. The erotic allusions are further emphasized by the placement of her left hand, which seems to be pushing her sword towards her crotch. Furthermore, her sword is actually running underneath one of the straps of her swimsuit. All in all, it’s a wonderful pose that is quite in keeping with the spirit of the anime.
Another thing that Alter’s Samurai Girls figures are known for are their expressive faces. I particularly liked Senhime’s face, which was transfixed in a mighty, homicidal scowl. Their recent Naoe Kanetsugu also had a memorable – if less distinctive – face, one that manifested pure joy. Of all of them, however, I think Jubei’s face is my favorite; she’s beaming with happiness, a warm and flirty smile on her lips and her eyes veritably dancing with mischief. Her gregarious innocence makes for an appealing contrast next to the wanton sexuality of her stance.
I also really like Jubei’s hair; tendrils of hair are going off everywhere, lending a sense of dynamic energy to what would otherwise be a fairly staid figure, as figures go. Her hair is voluminous, much more like MegaHouse’s figure than Alter’s older figure. I particularly like the way she’s got not one, not two, but three ahoge sprouting out of the top of her head like headcrab legs. The older figure had them as well, but they seem much more noticeable on this figure, perhaps because her hair color is a much brighter red. In fact, her paint job seems much more saturated than her first figure, which is noticeably muted in comparison.
Moving on from the fun and innocent aspects of her design to the fun and saucy parts: her pose obviously emphasizes her buttocks, and while the first version of this figure had a solid orange suit, this Jubei wears a white suit that is partially see-through, at least in the back. It’s more on the subtle side but it’s very well-executed, with her suit appearing as if wet. The seat of her swimsuit is a bit on the modest side considering its cleavage-emphasizing design in front, but it still doesn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination.
Like all of Alter’s Samurai Girls figures – heck, like just about all of Alter’s figures – Jubei looks fantastic. It’s probably my favorite one of all the figures from that series. She loses some of the retro-contemporary styling that characterizes the show, but I think the playfulness and innocence she evinces more than makes up for it.
For a review of the original figure with the orange swimsuit, check out this very nice review at Figyura.